iBOT® 4000-The wheelchair of the future

The engineer Dean Kamen from Great Britain has devised a four wheel drive electric wheelchair that can be changed with the touch of a button. With the new iBOT® 4000 the user can stand, climb stairs and even drive over kerbs or up onto a footpath when necessary.

The iBOT® 4000 is a super invention: a wheelchair, that's is not only a normal wheelchair with all standard functions, but also with the simple touch of a button can be moved into a standing position (Balance-Function). And that's not all, that Dean Kamen's invention can do. Thanks to the iBOT® 4000's stair climbing function, stairs are no longer an obstacle to be concerned about. With the sophisticated technology, steps can be negotiated without help from a second person.

When the operation mode "four wheel drive" is activated the wheelchair drives with ease over lawns, bumpy pathways and even onto 12cm high footpaths. One can switch between the four modes of operation with the simple push of a button, without the assistance a second person. Last but not least, there is a fold together system, which permits this ingenious tool to fit in the car and therefore the independence, can be enjoyed where ever you go.

The way to happiness

The iBOT® 4000 is an exceptional wheelchair with remarkable capabilities. Unfortunately it's not suitable for everyone. To ensure sufficient safety as well as to guarantee independent operation, the user should fulfil the following criteria:

  • The user should have a body weight of no less than 34 kg and no more than 113 kg
  • The sensory abilities in the hand should permit the user to operate a push button and joy stick controlled unit.
  • It should be possible to bend the knees so that the feet can be placed in the foot rests (this doesn't apply for leg amputees).
  • The user must be able to be in a seated position (sufficient hip movement).

The iBOT® 4000 is not suitable for people with very sensitive bones (i.e. people who suffer from osteoporosis or brittle bone disease).

In practice after a clarifying discussion and a medical examination a special driving training is conducted, which is concluded with a test. Whoever successfully completes this test may take the Super-wheelchair home with them. Cheap however, the iBOT® 4000 is not. Depending on the specification this wheelchair will set you back between 25'000 and 29'000 US-Dollars.

Authors: Cornelia Barthel/Patrick Gunti, august 2007. Translation: PmcC